MC436      Half Unit
Mediating the Past

This information is for the 2019/20 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Omar Al-Ghazzi FAW.7.01C


This course is available on the MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and Fudan), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and UCT), MSc in Global Media and Communications (LSE and USC), MSc in Media and Communications, MSc in Media and Communications (Data and Society), MSc in Media and Communications (Media and Communications Governance), MSc in Media and Communications (Research), MSc in Media, Communication and Development, MSc in Politics and Communication and MSc in Strategic Communications. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

This course starts with the premise that the understanding of the past and the future is socially-constructed, mediated, and shaped by power relations within the present. It critically explores cultural, political and technological issues in relation to the passing of time. It addresses questions such as: How do different kinds of media represent and structure collective notions about time whether in relation to the present, the past or the future? How do power relations shape understandings and experiences of time? How do we learn about history through media and why does that matter? How did the experience of colonialism impact collective understandings of history and national futures? In addressing these questions, this course makes creative connections between various topics in media and communication studies. It introduces students to the field of collective memory, differentiating it from history and historiography. It then considers critical issues within the relation between history, memory and politics, which are colonialism/postcolonialism, trauma, nationalism, and collective action. The second part of the class focuses on the analysis of technology and media in the ways they contribute to the social construction of time. It addresses how privilege and access to technology regulate the speed and slowness of people’s lives. It moves on to exploring how particular media conventions represent temporality, with a focus on news media, digital technologies and popular culture. By the end of the course, students will be able to identify key debates in the study of time and temporality, particularly as approached from the disciplinary perspective of communications and media studies.

  • Week 1 Collective memory & nostalgia
  • Week 2 The production of history
  • Week 3 Colonial, de-colonial & post-colonial time
  • Week 4  Nationalism &  the past
  • Week 5 Collective action, generations & the mobilization of time
  • Week 6 – Reading Week
  • Week 7 Witnessing war & trauma
  • Week 8 Writing pasts and futures
  • Week 9 Popular culture & the representation of time
  • Week 10 Speed & experiences of time
  • Week 11 Technology & belonging


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the MT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay (1500 words) in the MT.

Indicative reading

  • Badiou, A (2012). The rebirth of history: Times of riots and uprisings. Verso Books. 
  • Boym, S. (2008). The future of nostalgia. Basic Books.
  • Chakrabarty, D. (2009). Privincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton University Press
  • Diouf. M. (2003). Historians and Histories: What For? African Historiography: Between the State and the Communities. International Institute of Social History, South-South Exchange Programme for Research on the Histoy of Development.
  • Hage, G. (2009). Waiting out the crisis: On stuckedness and governmentality. Waiting, 97.
  • Hobsbawm, E., & Ranger, T (Eds.). (2012). The invention of tradition. Cambridge University Press. 
  • Keighley, E., & Pickering, M. (2012). The Mnemonic Imagination. Palgrave Macmilan, London.
  • Mark, J. (2010). The unfinished revolution: Making sense of the communist past in Central-Eastern Europe (p.8). New HAven: Yale University Press.
  • Martin-Barbero, J. (1993). Communication, culture and hegemony: from the media to mediations. Sage Pubns. 
  • Nelson, A. (2008). Bio science: Genetic genealogy testing and the pursuit of African ancestry. Social Studies of Science, 38(5), 759-783. 
  • Nora, P. (1989). Between memory and history: Les lieux de mémoire. Representations.
  • Olick, J. K., Vinitzky-Seroussi, V., & Levy, D. (Eds.). (2011). The collective memory reader. Oxford University.
  • Özyürek, E. (2006). Nostalgia for the Modern: State Secularism and Everyday Politics in Turkey. Duke University Press Books.
  • McClintock, A., & Robertson, G. (1994). Soft-soaping empire: Commodity racism and imperial advertising (pp. pp-131). London: Routledge.
  • Misztal, B. (2003). Theories of social remembering. McGraw-HIll Education (UK). 
  • Sharma, S. (2014). In the meantime: Temporality and cultural politics. Duke University Press.
  • Smith, R. M. (2003). Stories of peoplehood: The politics and morals of political membership. Cambridge University Press.
  • Strassler, K. (2006). Reformasi Through Our Eyes: Children as Witnesses of History in Post-Suharto Indonesia. Visual Anthropology Review, 22(2), 53-70.
  • Tenenboim-Weinblatt, K. (2013). Bridging collective memories and public agendas: Toward a theory of mediated prospective memory. Communication Theory, 23(2), 91-111.
  • Trouillot, M. R. (1995). Silencing the past: Power and the production of history. Beacon Press.
  • Zelizer, B. (1998). Remembering to forget: Holocaust memory through the camera's eye. University of Chicago Press.


Essay (100%, 3000 words).

Key facts

Department: Media & Communications

Total students 2018/19: 32

Average class size 2018/19: 15

Controlled access 2018/19: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication